By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — Big offensive plays have been the norm for the Spencer/Columbus Catholic football team, but yards were harder to come by against a steady Altoona defense on Friday night.
The Rockets defense, however, was dominant, and despite a pair of turnovers and a blocked punt, Spencer/Columbus was able to pitch its second shutout of the season, rolling to a 39-0 victory at Beell Stadium.
Spencer/Columbus improves to 7-0 overall and in the Cloverbelt Conference, clinching at least a tie for its first Cloverbelt championship. Altoona is now 4-3 and 3-3 in the conference.
The Rockets play a nonconference game at home against Edgar (6-1) next Friday before finishing their regular season with a game at Osseo-Fairchild as they search for the outright Cloverbelt title.
“It’s a big moment,” Spencer/Columbus coach Jason Gorst said in regards to clinching at least a tie for the conference title. “We still have a lot of work to do. This is definitely a goal on our list.”
The Rockets scored on three of their first four possessions to put the game away early.
Hunter Luepke capped a six-play, 53-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run, and Noah Zastrow ripped off a 50-yard run on the next drive to put Spencer/Columbus up 16-0.
Luepke ran 9 yards for a score on the third play of the second quarter to make it 24-0, and the Spencer/Columbus defense took it from there.
The Rockets allowed just two first downs in the first half and held the Railroaders to 54 total yards in the first half and 116 for the game.
A methodical 10-play, 60-yard drive ended with a 15-yard touchdown run by Jonny Tomke on fourth-and-3 to put Spencer/Columbus up 32-0 with 1:47 to go in the third quarter.
The Rockets finished the scoring on a 25-yard touchdown run by quarterback Calvin Lenz with 4:42 remaining in the game.
“The defense was absolutely terrific,” Gorst said. “They (Altoona) are big up front, but we shut them down. They are very good at running in between the tackles, but I thought our guys stayed in there for the whole night and played a good game.”
Zastrow led the Spencer/Columbus rushing attack with 94 yards on eight carries. In all, the Rockets racked up 292 yards on the ground.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Rockets 39, Railroaders 0
Altoona 0 0 0 0 – 0
Spencer/Columbus 16 8 8 7 – 39
SC – Hunter Luepke 6 run (Luepke run), 9:28.
SC – Noah Zastrow 50 run (Zastrow run), 5:47.
SC – Luepke 9 run (Calvin Lenz run), 11:19.
SC – Jonny Tomke 15 run (Zastrow run), 1:47.
SC – Lenz 25 run (Elijah Welsh kick), 4:42.
First downs: Altoona 6; Spencer/Columbus 13.
Rushing (att-yards): Altoona 38-78; Spencer/Columbus 36-292.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): Altoona 5-8-38-1; Spencer/Columbus 4-12-56-1.
Fumbles (total-lost): Altoona 1-0; Spencer/Columbus 3-1.
Penalties (no.-yards): Altoona 11-74; Spencer/Columbus 4-21.
Punting (no.-avg.): Altoona 4-25.0; Spencer/Columbus 1-0.
Rushing: A, Hunter Bowman 5-31, Connor Klatt 6-23, Trent Peterson 12-20, Kolten Wright 6-12, Mitch Adrian 2-10, Dakota Hickok 3-5, Sam Roeske 1-3, Wesley Boyarski 3-minus 14. SC, Noah Zastrow 8-94, Hunter Hildebrandt 6-60, Hunter Luepke 9-50, Calvin Lenz 9-45, Jonny Tomke 3-33, Tim Bauer 1-20.
Passing: A, Boyarski 5-8-38-1. SC, Lenz 4-12-56-1.
Receiving: A, Adrian 1-25, Wright 1-7, Peterson 2-5, Hickok 1-1. SC, Ryan Busse 2-17, Hildebrandt 1-33, Tomke 1-6.
Fumble recoveries (defense): A, Trent Sell.
Interceptions (defense): A, Peterson. SC, Elijah Welsh.
Punting: A, Dallas Ystebo 3-19.0, Peterson 1-43.0. SC, Zastrow 1-0 (blocked).
Records: Altoona 4-3, 3-3 Cloverbelt Conference; Spencer/Columbus 7-0 overall and Cloverbelt Conference.